My family is safe, although there's about 15 people living in my old home right now who may be there who knows how long.
Me personally, I cry every time I look at the horrible pictures coming from New Orleans. That place has always been the city of dreams for me, the shining, tempting seductress that beckoned in the night, a place I'd return to once I had fame and fortune at my back and a bright and beautiful future ahead. I daydreamed of an old mansion surrounded by oaks and houseboys galore. No more.
One of the images I'd always carried with me from the many times I'd been to New Orleans was of looking out a second-floor window and seeing water in a canal at the same level of the window. Those of us who've lived along the Mississippi all our lives (21 years in Louisiana me) know the Corps of Engineers is a bumbling, ignorant agency beset by internal power struggles and consumed by graft.
It was never a question of IF the levees would fail, it was WHEN. Now we know. People never believe me when I said that the dead were buried above ground in New Orleans, or that the city is 10 feet below sea level. Now we see.
I look at the images and it just still fails to sink in that the entire city is in ruins -- what was once a thriving, seething den of humanity is now essentially a toxic swamp where people can't get out fast enough. And is anyone really shocked at the looting. My god. It was always the murder capital of the country. More murders in the Big Easy than in DC, for god's sake.
I still can't get the images of those crumpled parts of I-10 out of my mind. I DROVE ON THAT so many times and marveled at how it was like floating above the bustle of the city. I've been to an awards dinner at the Superdome. I couldn't imagine being packed into there with thousands of other people struggling just to survive.
I cannot think of what will become of the shattered gem of Louisiana. No Mardi Gras. No Bourbon Street, at least not for the immediate future. No Big Easy. Right now, it is essentially a big nothing.